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My iPad app: AED Trainer

This post was originally published on Tue, 02/28/2012. However, due to issues with web hosting it has been temporarily removed.

A new iOS app I have been working on with my partners for quite some time, has finally been released today in the iTunes store. This iPad specific app is called AED Trainer and can be purchased on sale for 5.99 USD for a limited time period.

AED Trainer app transforms the iPad into a life-like simulator of automatic external defibrillator (AED), allowing the users to get familiar with these life-saving devices. For those who don’t know, AEDs are electronic devices used to deliver electrical shocks to people suffering from cardiac arrest. Electrical shock, also called defibrillation, represents the only therapy for dangerous heart rhythms such as ventricular fibrillation. It is important to note that these devices are not intended to be used by healthcare professionals only. Quite the contrary, they are predominantly aimed at lay rescuers, so you might have seen them hanging on the walls of airports, train stations, stadiums, and other public places. Everyone should know how to use these devices, because cardiac arrest can happen anywhere, anytime and to anyone, and you might just be the one who can save a life. With the AED Trainer app you can experience how a live AED works, try out different scenarios, and be ready to use an actual device in case of a real emergency.

You can learn more about AEDs by watching our “How to use an AED” video.

Download AED Trainer app from the iTunes store.

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‘Medical Video Games’ Provide Great Training for Healthcare Professionals

By-line:
DENA WHITE is a freelance writer and covers topics such as nurse assistant and medical careers, health care topics, and more.

Just a quick search on the Internet and you can see some great screenshots from the video game Zero Hour. Zero Hour is a fantastic video game that has you playing as an EMT who must respond to catastrophes such as a biological weapons attack in a major US city. You have to treat and diagnose panic-stricken patients as well as manage supplies, which are disorganized and unpredictable.

The United States Department of Homeland Security created this game in some measure as a way of training responders for emergencies in real life situations. This is the perfect example of interactive virtual reality modernizing the way professionals are taught and trained.

The days when video games were seen as nothing more than tools to promote passive learning and aggressive behavior are fading fast. Video games with real world learning applications are exploding on the scene and leaving critics around the globe in a state of astonishment.

A New Way To Learn

Innovative education using specially designed or off-the-shelf video games are sweeping the fields of healthcare, education, business and government. The primary focus is on healthcare partially due to the fact that the payoffs are immediate. When it comes to meeting health care goals, many have found that one of the most cost-effective methods for training healthcare professionals is video games that simulate real-life events.

The most popular games include those based on biofeedback that teach the players how to lower biological stress signs as well as games that teach healthcare professionals how to manage individuals who suffer from various phobias, asthma, heart disease and diabetes. Other games focus on simulated exercises. One video game connects to a bicycle and allows players to race through the streets of the big cities.

Educating With Games

The educational theory that is emerging around video games comes from research indicating that a new kind of learning called information literacy has spawned from the Internet. This is different from traditional learning through reading books and attending lectures. This is a more interactive way to learn using computers.

Experts claim that video games have several benefits that aid learning:

  • Video games stimulate prior education. Players have to use information that they learned previously in order to advance to the higher levels of the game.
  • Players receive immediate feedback by way of scoring as well as auditory and visual stimulus that lets players modify learning techniques.

  • Transfer of skills from video games to reality is likely to occur.

  • Motivation to learn about new tasks and ideas are higher for most when they play video games.

Video games are often used as a last resort when other forms of therapy fail in the treatment of hyperactive children who need help focusing their attention. Research is taking place to determine how such games work and the ways that they can be used to complement other therapies. In addition, experts are studying ways for video games to aid in reaching healthcare goals as a less expensive alternative to traditional, more expensive treatments. The effect of video games on the healthcare industry is an area that researchers have just begun to explore.

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Wii for surgeons

Q&A with Dr. Mark Smith and a news report regarding use of Nintendo Wii to train surgeons from News 8 Austin.

Mark Smith, M.D., a gynecological surgeon at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, explains how the Nintendo Wii is helping train new surgeons.

Q: Part of your job is to train residents learning to be surgeons?

Smith: Yes. I have been in teaching for over 20 years and one of my responsibilities is training residents in surgery.

Q: When you started your job did you ever think you would be using video games to train?

Smith: I have never thought I’d be in video games to this extent. We have surgical simulators in virtual reality, but this has taken it to a whole new level, which is exciting.

Q: What have you found that the Nintendo Wii can do for practicing surgeons and for people learning how to perform surgery?

Smith: One of the problems we’ve had over the years is we had no method to teach surgeons surgical skills without going into surgery. We now have simulators that help them develop those skills. The problem is they are incredibly expensive — like a flight simulator for a pilot. This gives us a much less costly way to train these fine motor skills that the surgeons employ during surgery.

Q: Can a video game really help somebody improve as a surgeon?

Smith: We used cyber gloves which computerize hand movements of surgeons and we put those on surgeons. We have data on that. We put them on people playing the Wii. There is a very, very high correlation between the two and this is documented statistically.

Q: What did you find happens to the skills of people when they train this way as opposed to those who don’t train this way?

Smith: They develop an increased efficiency, less errors, more fluid movements … they’re just better.

Q: What has been the traditional method of training?

Smith: Up until the last ten years, they learned in actual surgery … what’s called the apprentice method — standing beside an expert surgeon, watching and helping to do it.

Q: Does this generation of doctors, having grown up playing video games, tend to be better at this training?

Smith: Actually, they tend to be better, but that’s not all of it. We can expand the skills that they have developed growing up. They certainly jump in a lot quicker. There is less training to start. For instance, in laparoscopy, which has differences than the more traditional type surgery, but it’s really as much an innate ability as it is for what they’ve grown up with.

Q: Have you adapted the Wii to use actual surgical tools?

Smith: We are using the actual tools. What some people don’t realize is there are very basic skills we have to teach. If you teach someone to drive a car, you first have to teach them how to put the gas down … put the break down. You have to learn all these skills before you can drive a car.

Q: What kind of skills are they learning by doing this?

Smith: Very fine motor skills … very precise, exact movements that surgeons need to know and have the ability to do. This teaches them those fine movements — fine motor skills — so that they are very proficient in those types of skills when they go into surgery.

Q: What did your study on this new training technique show?

Smith: Our initial pilot study … we showed a 50 percent improvement in their surgical skill level just by playing on the Wii.

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HOPKINS

On June 26th, ABC News started airing its six-part series called “Hopkins” which takes an intimate look at the men and women who work at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Each episode follows a few characters, both healthcare workers and patients, and their stories. The series is greatly produced and is very inspiring to watch. So far, two episodes came out and here are their summaries:

Episode 1

Twenty-one years ago Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinjosa climbed a 20-foot border fence so he could join other illegal immigrants picking fruit in the lush valleys of central California. Today he is one of the nation’s elite brain surgeons. He tells ABC News about his remarkable journey as viewers watch him try to save a man’s life.

Karen Boyle is among the new generation of surgeons. She is the first female attending in urology at Hopkins, and determined to maintain a balance between her family and her job. But what sets her apart from other surgeons is the candid counseling about sexual health and intimacy she offers to her patients.

Brian Bethea has made it to the top of one of the most difficult residencies in medicine, cardiothoracic surgery. After nine years of apprenticeship he is ready to join the ranks of the nation’s most illustrious heart and lung surgeons. But the demands of residency have left his family life in shambles. Repairing a ruptured aorta may be easier than saving his marriage.

Episode 2

Brenda Thompson is dying from an obscure and always fatal lung disease. After two failed marriages, her third husband seems to be the man of her dreams. But time is running out. Only a lung transplant can save her. And a new lung may not become available in time. When a donor does become available in New England, there is jubilation. But events take an ominous turn when the donor lungs turn out to be damaged.

Brian Bethea, the promising cardiothoracic surgeon with marital problems, has been sent to harvest the new lungs that turn out to be damaged. Nothing seems to be going right for him. When Brian returns home, he must explain to his daughters that he and their mother are separating and he has found his own apartment.

Mustapha Saheed is in his third year of emergency medicine. At six foot, seven inches tall, this self-described “big black man” cuts a striking figure as he dashes through the ER. Despite the advice of a colleague to not marry the “girlfriend who got you through residency,” Saheed makes plans for the altar.

You can watch Hopkins on ABC News website

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